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Aviation Learning Center Document Meet Your Aircraft P-8740-29
Author: FAA Date: 1995
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Aircraft Checkout
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What constitutes a good aircraft checkout? It depends on the complexity of the aircraft and the ability of the pilot being checked out, as well as the ability of the pilot conducting the checkout. What would be adequate in a single-engine, fixed-gear aircraft obviously would not be adequate for a complex single or twin, and what is adequate in a reciprocating twin would not be adequate in a turbine-powered aircraft.

For small reciprocating singles and light twins, the following is one suggested checkout. Review the previous items discussed in this article - systems, limitations, procedures, cockpit arrangement, various load configurations, etc. Then review the standard flight training procedures that you will use to familiarize yourself with the aircraft's flight characteristics. One good guide is the FAA Practical Test Standards (PTS) appropriate to your certificate or rating. For example, if you are a commercial pilot, you would use the commercial PTS while conducting your checkout. At a minimum, the Private Pilot PTS is a good lesson and flight outline for a detailed aircraft checkout.

The following outline will help you become familiar with a new airplane.

  • Detailed preflight, using a checklist
  • Start, taxi, and run-up
  • Takeoff series and aborted takeoff practice
  • Turns, climbs, and descents
  • Flight at minimum controllable airspeed
  • Stall series (appropriate to the aircraft). Remember to use clearing turns.
  • Steep turns
  • Simulated emergencies (appropriate to the aircraft)
  • Landing series and go-arounds
  • Shutdown and postflight
  • Fueling procedures
  • Discrepancy reporting procedures
  • Appropriate aircraft endorsement, if required (e.g., high performance or tailwheel aircraft endorsement); must be from an authorized flight instructor

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